Each of the US Olympic team took a national title in this year’s mountain bike national championships, with Sam Schultz and Georgia Gould winning the cross country titles and Todd Wells and Lea Davison winning the short track races.
In the men’s race, Schultz (Subaru-Trek) rode away from the previous national champion in the final lap, resulting in the 27-year-old’s first elite national victory.
The two selected to represent the United States in the London Olympics opened up a gap rapidly in the race. While suffering from an untimely flat on the last lap, Wells (Specialized Racing) was unable to respond when Schultz attacked on the climb.
“We just kept on going back and forth before he got a flat,” Schultz said. “He would come around me at the bottom of the climb. I just nipped him before the singletrack because he descended pretty well. I wasn’t descending that great, so I just made sure I got ahead of him. It would have been real intense if he hadn’t flatted.”
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek), Ryan Trebon and Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) gave chase but couldn’t catch the leaders.
Gould’s ride resulted in her fourth national championship in front of the Ketchum, Idaho crowd. Gould began her career while living in Ketchum.
“It’s really special,” Gould said after the race. “It never gets old. To be able to wear the national champion’s jersey at all the races all year always makes me proud. Every time is special. It never gets old. I’m always proud to be the national champion.”
The early attack came from Heather Irmiger, where she distanced herself more than 30 seconds from the group. Pro Ultra-Endurance Tour leader Pua Mata sat in third and Davison in fourth. Davison made her way around the Irmiger and Mata to come in second behind her Olympic teammate.